MOSCOW (AP) — Russia says it plans to expand its worldwide military presence by seeking permission for navy ships to use ports in Latin America, Asia and elsewhere.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday in remarks carried by Russian news agencies the military was conducting talks with Algeria, Cyprus, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, Seychelles, Vietnam and Singapore.
He said that it was essential for the Russian navy to be able to call at their ports to service its ships.
Shoigu said Russia was also talking to some of those countries asking them to allow long-range bombers to use their air bases for refueling.
President Vladimir Putin has launched a massive military modernization program and sought to demonstrate Russia’s global reach by sending navy ships to the Mediterranean, Latin America and other areas.
China calls the new strategy “far sea defense,” and the speed with which it is building long-range capabilities has surprised foreign military officials.
The strategy is a sharp break from the traditional, narrower doctrine of preparing for war over the self-governing island of Taiwan or defending the Chinese coast. Now, Chinese admirals say they want warships to escort commercial vessels that are crucial to the country’s economy, from as far as the Persian Gulf to the Strait of Malacca, in Southeast Asia, and to help secure Chinese interests in the resource-rich South and East China Seas.